Proteas aiming to beat Aussies for the first time since 1992: Coach Arthur

December 8th, 2008 - 1:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Perth, Dec.8 (ANI): South African cricket team coach Mickey Arthur has said that his team is aiming to become the first team to defeat Australia on home soil after 16 years.
The West Indians were the last team to inflict such a defeat in 1992-93.
The Proteas, who arrived in Australia on Sunday for a Test Series against Australia, appear well equipped to challenge the hosts.
Speaking to reporters at Perth Airport yesterday, Arthur spoke of the growing confidence within his squad ahead of the first Test at the WACA Ground on December 17.
“We”ve been working hard for the last two years on getting our side ready for a tour like this, giving the guys experience and giving a lot of the younger guys opportunities to grow,” Arthur said.
“We come here as a pretty settled and deep unit. We have huge respect for Australia. They haven”t lost a home series since 1992-93. So we know what awaits us. We are going to be challenged in every way, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.
“The [fast bowlers] are learning all the time and there’’s unbelievable potential there. You”ve got Makhaya [Ntini] who bowls from a different angle, you”ve got Dale [Steyn] who swings it out, and you”ve got Morne Morkel who is quick and bouncy, so we are covered in all areas. We”ll see on show three different quick bowlers, all who bring different elements to our attack, which is brilliant. Lots of variation,” he said.
Arthur has made no secret of the importance this series holds for his nation and has liaised with Duncan Fletcher and Gary Kirsten - the previous two international coaches to have subjected Australia to series defeats - to boost his dossier on the Australians.
Kirsten, who piloted India to a 2-0 win over Australia this spring, says Australia’’s newer squad members are vulnerable and rates South Africa to emerge victorious and create a new world order.
“The Aussies are a difficult team to beat in their own backyard, [but] I believe that the Proteas have their best chance ever to win a series there,” Kirsten told the Rapport newspaper.
Arthur said the bitter memories of past series defeats to Australia had motivated the South Africans over the past two years.
The Proteas lost five of six Tests to Australia in 2005-06 but have since refined their game and emerged as legitimate contenders for the ICC Test race.
The South Africans are favoured to select an all-pace attack at the WACA Ground, where the pace and bounce should suit the towering Morkel and the ever-awkward Ntini.
Arthur, though, said he was some way off finalising the make-up of his attack for the first Test and did not rule out playing a specialist spinner, most likely Paul Harris. (ANI)

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